Mitchell’s 64 mph gust is third highest in state
Mitchell had the third highest recorded wind gust in the state Thursday at 64 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The highest gust was 70 in Aberdeen, followed by 66 in Winner and Philip.
On the 1-12 Beaufort scale, those gusts rank as an 11, just below hurricane force.
Two fronts moved through Mitchell area. Wind rattled windows and whipped signs as a wakeup call for the area around 5 a.m. and then diminished until noon, when another Arctic front blasted the area.
Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Mitchell’s temperature dropped 18 degrees from 36 to 18, said Brad Temeyer, meteorologist with the NWS in Sioux Falls.
“The system coming through centered across Minnesota, but a strong front moved through the area and had strong northwest winds behind the front,” Temeyer said.
The front caused some serious problems on Interstate 90 near Salem and Montrose around noon. Whiteout conditions caused vehicle after vehicle to collide or slide into ditches.
The state Department of Public Safety said more than 20 vehicles blocked the westbound lanes of I-90 near Humboldt. Officials closed the lanes to allow South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers, Department of Transportation crews and emergency responders to work at the scene. That stretch of interstate was closed all afternoon until about 5:40 p.m.
Temeyer said the snow that fell stuck to the warm roads and caused slippery conditions. He added the winds were expected to gradually decrease overnight and are expected to be calm today.
Winds peaked in the 50-60 mph range in the area — Parkston, 63; Lake Andes, 61; Gregory, 59; Chamberlain, 59; and Platte, 53.
The high winds in Mitchell caused some damage around town. A pine tree on the 200 block of South Minnesota Street lost a large limb. Garbage cans could be seen blown into the street after having been emptied. The new sign at Freedom Valu Center on Sanborn Boulevard was toppled from its post. Bruce Sign Company, of Mitchell, retrieved the sign around 2:30 p.m.
Mitchell dispatchers said mostly dealt with the calls from Interstate 90 and had few calls from in or around town.
Area sheriff’s offices reported few accidents and little damage related to the weather and wind. Mitchell’s 64 mph gust is third highest in state
NorthWestern Energy spokesman Tom Glanzer said a power outage included Menno, Olivet, Ethan and Delmont and lasted from 12:30 to 2:45 p.m. He said it affected about 2,000 customers.
“The wind was wreaking havoc on some of our lines,” he said.
Temeyer said today will bring cooler conditions across the eastern part of South Dakota, but warmer air will work its way back into the region.
“It’s the classic battle we’ve seen over the last several weeks,” he said.
Mitchell is forecast to be around 30 degrees today and Saturday and up into the 40s on Sunday. On Monday, Temeyer said, the temperature is expected to drop back down into the low 30s.
“The northwest winds will come back in and we’ll have another round of wind on Saturday, but not as strong as today,” he said.